What are canker sores, how do I avoid them, and how can my dentist help?
Canker sores, or aphthous ulcers are small shallow sores on the inside of your mouth. They form most commonly near your gums but can pop up anywhere. Seemingly similar to cold sores, canker sore form inside the mouth, and are not contagious. The good news is they typically heal within 1-2 weeks.1
Researchers haven’t found the outright cause of canker sores, though there are many assumptions. Some causes are thought to be stress, vitamin deficiency, immune problems or mouth injury.2 Prevention depends on each individual, but watching what you eat, staying away from overly-acidic foods, regularly brushing and flossing, and reducing stress are measures that are agreed upon.1
Canker sores can be a result of poor mouth health or sharp surfaces on dental appliances such as braces or retainers. If you find dental appliances bothering you, be sure to ask for orthodontic wax to cover sharp edges. Dentists can also prescribe anti-inflammation mouthwashes, yet there are many home remedies such as salt and warm water or a dab of honey.2
Make sure to let your dentist know before he or she starts working if you are experiencing any canker sore symptoms.
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1 Canker Sore. 2018. Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/canker-sore/symptoms-causes/syc-20370615
2Painful Sensation? Could Be a Canker Sore. 2016. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/canker-sores